Benjamin L. Hankin
Associate Professor, Clinical Child and DCN
Dr. Hankin's major areas of interest are:
- the development of depression in children, adolescents, and young adults;
- vulnerability-stress models of depression-genetic, cognitive, interpersonal, emotional vulnerabilities
- developmental psychopathology;
- sex differences in depression;
- comorbidity of depression and other psychiatric disorders
- developmental origins, stabilization, and emergence of psychosocial vulnerabilities to depression
- structural models, accurate, appropriate classification of depression and psychopathology generally
- longitudinal research designs and data analysis
My interests focus on understanding the development of depression over the lifespan, especially what factors and processes contribute to cause elevations in symptoms of and onset of clinical depression. Primary questions motivating the research include: 1) why do youth become depressed, especially the rapid rise in rates observed during adolescence? and 2) why do more girls become depressed than boys starting in adolescence? This work is guided conceptually by a developmental psychopathological framework, as I am also interested in 1) the reciprocal, transactional relations among psychosocial and genetic risks, stressful life events, and psychopathological symptoms and 2) the developmental origins, stabilization, and emergence of psychosocial vulnerabilities to depression over time. For this work, I was awarded the prestigious APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contributions to Psychology, especially in Psychopathology (2010). My work has been continuously funded since 2002 by NIMH, NSF, AFSP, and CIHR.
Presently, my colleagues and I are engaged in large-scale, multi-wave longitudinal studies examining how various vulnerabilities to depression (e.g., molecular genetic, cognitive, interpersonal, emotional/ temperament) interact with various stressors to predict prospective increases in depression over time among children and adolescents. After conducting a comprehensive baseline assessment to measure psychopathology (e.g., depression, anxiety, externalizing behaviors), vulnerabilities and stressors using multiple methods and informants in youth and parents, we then follow-up the youth and parent every 3 months with assessments of symptoms and stressors for the next 3 years. We assess children and parents using various methods, including self- and other-report questionnaires, daily diary methods, lab-tasks (e.g., emotion-eliciting, information-processing, parent-child and peer interactions), biological samples, and clinical interviews (e.g., diagnostic, contextual stress interviews).
Students working with me have the opportunity to learn about developmental psychopathological and depression theories, multiple methods to test hypotheses derived from these theories, and the data analytic methods associated with them. Students are encouraged to develop their own quasi-independent program of research, that ties into and relates to the lab's larger program on the development of depression, and are encouraged to take part in these larger studies or to conduct their own independent studies. Students are expected to engage actively in research and scholarly activities, such as present research at national conferences and submit publishable papers. My students and post-docs have been exceptionally productive and successful, including receiving pre-doctoral NIMH funding (e.g., NRSA).
I have taught undergraduate abnormal psychology and various graduate courses, including adult psychopathology, developmental psychopathology, clinical interventions, and psychotherapy systems and theories. I supervise a range of cases using empirically-based interventions (e.g., CBT, IPT, DBT).
Child and Adolescent Mood and Emotion Lab (CAMEL) Major Projects
- Montreal-Chicago longitudinal study of the development of depression. This is a 7-year longitudinal study involving children, who were recruited when ages 11-14, and mothers, who are being followed every 3-6 months to examine prospective predictors of depression and anxiety based on psychosocial vulnerability-stress models, including cognitive, interpersonal, personality, and emotional vulnerabilities. Research has been funded by NIMH, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and presently by the Canadian Institute of Health Research.
- Gene-Environment Mood (GEM) Study. This is a 5-year NIMH funded 2-site study (Denver and Rutgers in collaboration with Dr. John Abela) examining molecular genetic, cognitive, and interpersonal vulnerabilities to depression and how they transact with stressors to predict prospective increases in depressive symptoms and onset of depressive episodes. We are recruiting 750 youth (250 each from 3rd, 6th, and 9th grade) and a parent who will be followed every 3 months for 3 years, as part of an accelerated longitudinal cohort design, to understand what factors and mechanisms predict development of depression, especially among adolescent girls, and how these psychosocial vulnerabilities develop from 3rd through 12th grades.
Hankin, B.L., & Abela, J.R.Z. (2005). Development of Psychopathology: A Vulnerability-Stress Perspective. Edited volume. Sage Publishing.
Abela, J.R.Z., & Hankin, B.L. (2008). Handbook of Child and Adolescent Depression. Edited volume. Guilford Press.
Hankin, B.L., Nederhof, E., Oppenheimer, C.W., Jenness, J.L., Young, J.F., Abela, J.R.Z., Smolen, A., Ormel, J., & Oldehinkel, A.J. (in press). Differential susceptibility in youth: Evidence that 5-HTTLPR x positive parenting is associated with positive affect “for better and worse.” Translational Psychiatry (Nature publication).
Badanes, L.S., Watamura, S.E., & Hankin, B.L. (2011). Hypocortisolism as a potential marker of allostatic load in children: Associations with family risk and internalizing disorders. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 881-896.
Abela, J.R.Z., & Hankin, B.L. (2011). Rumination as a vulnerability factor to depression during the transition from early to middle adolescence: A multi-wave longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120, 259-271.
Hankin, B.L., Jenness, J., Abela, J.R.Z., & Smolen, A. (2011). Interaction of 5HTTLPR and idiographic stressors predicts prospective depressive symptoms specifically among youth in a multi-wave study. Journal of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology, 40, 572-585.
Hankin, B.L., Barrocas, A.L., Jenness, J., Oppenheimer, C., Badanes, L.S., Abela, J.R.Z., & Smolen, A. (2011). Association between 5HTTLPR and borderline personality disorder traits among youth. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 1, 2-6.
Hankin, B.L., & Abela, J.R.Z. (2011). Nonsuicidal self injury in adolescence: Prospective risk factors in a 2 ½ year longitudinal study. Psychiatry Research.
Hankin, B.L., Badanes, L.S., Abela, J.R.Z., & Watamura, S.E. (2010). Hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis dysregulation in dysphoric children and adolescents: Cortisol reactivity to psychological stress from preschool through middle adolescence. Biological Psychiatry, 68, 484-490.
Hankin, B.L., Gibb, B.E., Abela, J.R.Z., & Flory, K. (2010). Selective attention to affective stimuli and clinical depression among youth: Role of comorbid anxiety and specificity of emotion. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 119, 491-501.
Hankin, B.L., Stone, L.B., & Wright, P.A. (2010). Co-rumination, interpersonal stress generation, and internalizing symptoms: Sex differences and transactional influences in a multi-wave study of adolescents. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 217-235.
Hankin, B.L. (2008). Stability of cognitive vulnerabilities to depression: A short-term prospective multi-wave study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 324-333.
Hankin, B.L., Mermelstein, R., & Roesch, L. (2007). Sex differences in adolescent depression: Stress exposure and reactivity. Child Development, 78, 279-295.
Hankin, B.L. & Abramson, L.Y. (2001). Development of gender differences in depression: An elaborated cognitive vulnerability-transactional stress theory. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 773-796.
Hankin, B.L., Abramson, L.Y., Moffitt, T.E., Silva, P.A., McGee, R., & Angell, K.A. (1998). Development of depression from preadolescence to young adulthood: Emerging gender differences in a 10 year longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 107, 128-141.
Benjamin L. Hankin
University of Wisconsin
Clinical Child and DCN
The GEM Study